Is it possible to still be good for God while in the military and get the eternal rewards of the crowns? I know what the crowns are:
- the crown of righteousness
- incorruptible crown
- crown of life
- crown of rejoicing
- crown of glory
What does each one of those mean? I know what some of they mean from what I read. With one of those crowns it's for those who have saved people and talked to them about God. Does it have to do with a person who would witness whenever he can, as much as he can, even if he only has a few people saved like one or five or for someone who saved lots of people?
With the things that are happening with the government, since God is being taken away and Bibles, is it a bad thing for Christians to be going in the military?
About a third of the families here in La Vista have one member in the military, so yes, it is possible to be a Christian and be in the military. It can also be hard. I don't know how many people ask us to contact their son or daughter who has transferred to the base near here, but they only come at most a few times. It takes dedication to the Lord to overcome the temptations present in the military.
Yes, our government is following an anti-Christian fad at the moment. It does make it a bit harder to be faithful to God, but it isn't impossible. The Roman government was as strongly opposed to Christianity as you can get, yet find men like Cornelius responding to the call of God (Acts 10).
To understand the concept of crowns, let's look first at the Old Testament. A crown is an honor to the wearer, so things that give glory to a person are a crown to them:
"She [wisdom] will place on your head an ornament of grace; a crown of glory she will deliver to you" (Proverbs 4:9).
"An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, But she who causes shame is like rottenness in his bones" (Proverbs 12:4).
"The silver-haired head is a crown of glory, if it is found in the way of righteousness" (Proverbs 16:31).
"Children's children are the crown of old men, and the glory of children is their father" (Proverbs 17:6).
There are two words translated as "crown" in the New Testament. Stephanos refers to a victory wreath given as a reward, usually in sporting events. Diadema refers to the crown of a ruler. All the references to the crown given to Christians are of the victory type.
"And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown" (I Corinthians 9:25).
"and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away" (I Peter 5:4).
Typically victory crowns were woven branches. They did not last. But the Christian's victory is permanent. We aren't talking about a physical item, but a spiritual concept.
"Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing" (II Timothy 4:8).
It is a crown that signifies the wearer has been declared righteous.
"Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him" (James 1:12).
"Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life" (Revelation 2:10).
It is a reward of eternal life.
"Therefore, my beloved and longed-for brethren, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved" (Philippians 4:1).
"For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?" (I Thessalonians 2:19).
For Paul, seeing those he taught in heaven was a joyous victory.
But our reward can be lost if we don't remain faithful.
"Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown" (Revelation 3:11).
God is not talking about separate things. We are not referring to merit badges to be collected. All these verses refer to the same thing: the promise of eternal life in heaven given to those found faithful until the end of life.